Two-sport super prospect Kyler Murray has officially chosen football over baseball and is diving head-first into the NFL Draft.
The Oakland Athletics drafted Murray with the ninth overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft but he is No.8 on ESPN's Mel Kiper's latest draft board. Murray agreed to a minor league contract that included a $4.66 million signing bonus but will be returning $1.29 million of the $1.5 million signing bonus money he received last year.
"Moving forward, I am firmly and fully committing my life and time to becoming an NFL quarterback," Murray wrote in a statement he posted on Twitter. "Football has been my love and passion my entire life. I was raised to play QB, and I very much look forward to dedicating 100% of myself to being the best QB possible and winning NFL championships. I have started an extensive training program to further prepare myself for upcoming NFL workouts and interviews. I eagerly await the opportunity to continue to prove to NFL decision makers that I am the franchise QB in this draft."
This must have most Arizona Cardinals fans smiling ear to ear. This also has to have new Cardinals head coach Kingsbury smiling from ear to ear. He once said last season while at Texas Tech that he would take the Heisman Trophy winning quarterback with the top pick in the draft if he had it, which he does now.
“I’d take him with the first pick in the draft, if I could,” Kingsbury said in October of last year. “I know he’s signed up to play baseball, but he’s a dominant football player. I would take him with the first pick.”
However, his most recent remarks suggest that he's sticking with current quarterback Josh Rosen.
"Our feelings toward Josh haven't waned or changed or anything," Kingsbury said. "I get we have the first pick (in the upcoming NFL draft) and so there's going to be a million scenarios over the next three months that are going to come up, but no, Josh is our guy."
Murray is the perfect compliment to the “Air Raid” style offense that Kingsbury ran in college and why USC and the Cardinals were hot on their heels to have him. The perfect/imperfect prospect from Oklahoma has shown significant promise this year in leading the Sooners to a playoff berth after Baker Mayfield led a similar charge.
The redshirt freshman stands at 5’10” and weighs 190 even though most that have met him say that height is generous at best. His playmaking ability is to admire even though he falls in love with running a little too much. His progressions through his receivers is where he can most improve as he often relies on his biggest asset (his legs) to make a play. In the NFL, Murray will have to adjust and adapt fast with his hair like trigger for an arm should get him multiple plays downfield.
Where Kingsbury could feast with Murray is the vertical passing game mixed in with his mobility to consistently leave defenses on their back foot. A trade looks optimal for Josh Rosen as his style of QB doesn’t fit Kingsbury’s game plan. Only question now is do the Cardinals trade down for Murray or trade back up with Rosen as bait to get their man.
Eddie and Michael Louzada contributed to this story.